Writer’s Block - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)
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Everyday Living Faith
June 29, 2022

Writer’s Block

The page is blank. An unnerving sight to behold. Any words written seem unnecessary, not worth recognition, misdirected and lacking. Errors are rampant, so much effort put forth but regardless, a blank page remains. At moments like this, a sharpened pencil and paper is necessary but a sizable eraser is strongly advised. Black smudges and ink smears lay claim to your once pristinely white page. The piece of paper before you still holds no literary value as you have failed to carry out any meaningful thought to completion. As the clock wastes away, so does the lead in your pencil. At this point, the expectations you held for yourself on what you would accomplish through writing seems unrealistic and burdensome to complete.

It appears that writers block has taken control of your mind, leading you down a path of confusion, irritation, and unproductivity. You’re alone, you and your thoughts, thoughts useful only in discouraging you further regarding your capabilities as an author. Even if you had something on your mind to write down, at this point, is it really worth writing down? It probably wouldn’t be good enough. It most likely would fall short of the expectations you held from the very beginning anyway. At this point, it feels like you are incapable. Truthfully, the problem isn’t in the materials you hold. Even with a piece of chalk and a sidewalk you could probably write a great story if your thoughts would simply cooperate. No, the problem is something deeper.

Writer’s block may very well be the bubonic plague of academia, or literacy altogether. One way or another, each one of us has or will find ourselves in this predicament at some point in our lives, to our dismay. It can quench one’s passion to write, resulting in some grueling long hours of thinking, unthinking, and re-thinking what has already been thought. It’s like running on a treadmill, good for working you hard to get absolutely nowhere (though I better leave this particularly passionate debate for another day). Nonetheless, many of us have the desire to communicate but are plagued with the momentary inability to do so effectively as long as the writer’s block endures.

So, what is the point? Well, in all honesty, I think this dilemma of writer’s block is quite comparable to everyday life. We strive to live out this narrative that we supposedly write for ourselves, we want to be able to follow along in the general progression of the story, figuring out the possible plot twists, the characters involved, the situations we may encounter, the avenues that we need to take, where those roads will lead in the end… how our story should go. We want to be able to have some control in how the storyline of our lives should progress and how it should reach its eventual end. But at some point in our lives, we reach this crisis where our mind’s go blank, the words stop flowing, the storyline slows down and everything comes to a halt. We are at a loss for words on where we are going, where we must go next, how we are to write the next chapter. Afterall, is it not up to us?

The pressures to establish our direction in life can be overbearing, especially when we are stumped on what should come next. The wide variety of paths to go down can be a good thing, a lot of directions and adventures ahead, but having the discretion to know which one to take is unnerving. Uncertainty breeds a mentality that the best part of one’s life has already been lived and that the story’s ending has come. Yet, I dare say that when we feel this way, it often means we are in reality, at the very beginning of something new. It is understanding what specifically will begin that makes this process difficult. What am I to do? Where am I to go? How should I get there? What if I make the wrong choice? These questions are burdensome.  

It is at this point that we must come to the realization that the authority we thought we once held in the way our story would be written is most certainly not in our possession. We like to think of ourselves as the author of our lives, controlling who we meet, where we go, and when we do things. But we can no longer pretend that we are still the ones writing our story. The truth is, we are not and have never been the author; we have never been the one in control. If we do not recognize this fact, we are negligent to attribute the mastery of our story to the right wordsmith. Credit must be given where credit is due. If we do not recognize a sovereign invisible hand in our lives, we would also be found guilty of ignorance to think that we could do justice with the lives we are so blessed to possess. We are incapable, grossly unqualified, and incompetent to carry the responsibility of this authorship. No, God is our creator and author of our lives, the writer of all things good and purposeful.

God has placed each person in their circumstances, at the time that he wants, in the place he wants and with whom he wants. None of those circumstances are an accident, nothing is a surprise to him. The why’s may never be answered, though we desperately wish they could be. But, he knows. He is in control. And in due season, the why’s just might come. But in the meantime, while we rest in God’s overarching sovereignty, it is our responsibility to work faithfully in the now, in whatever is set before us.

It is true, when uncertainty hits us, we wish God would hit us equally hard with a lightning bolt of answers on where to next or what to next. But life often leaves us on a road with various avenues leading to many hazy paths. Though we know not where to go, yet we must walk. Though the road is uncertain and unclear, yet we must journey on. Though we cease to make sense of it all, yet we will trust. For while we do not understand or cannot comprehend, God does. His Word is true and his faithfulness sure.

Christ in us and we in Christ, there is a mission. Once we understand this, we realize that our story is quite clear. Not in specificity but in generality our purpose is evident. Our life is found in Christ. We are not to worry about what we will eat or drink, for God takes care of even the sparrows. Of what to wear, we are not to worry, for God clothes even the flowers in such splendor (Matthew 6:26-28). How much more even you? In due season, God will provide that which is needed.

At times God may ask you to walk, and in other times, he will ask you to be still. Through it all we must recognize that we are sorely inadequate without Christ; we are complete in him alone. Our true purpose is in him alone. Our goal in life is accomplishable through him alone. The destination for which we strive is already known by God, though hazy to us, the path is clear to him. The work that which he has begun, he will carry it out through to completion (Philippians 1:6). By faith we walk. By faith God leads. In faith we must follow. Our goal in life is not to write a story for our lives that we make worthwhile, our goal is to remain faithful to him who makes our lives worthwhile. Our purpose is in Christ, the mission is to do all for the glory of Christ.

So here we are, right where we started, but hopefully with a very different perspective. God’s plan for your life is not always clear, but if you seek him with your whole heart, he will establish your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6). The pressure for us to make something of our lives on our own will linger, and the writer’s block will persist. But the point is, you should no longer feel this way for you never were responsible and could never supply the purpose for your life. It isn’t writer’s block… no, you just had the wrong author holding the pencil. So, where are you going? We may not know now, but he does. Walk by faith, with faith, in faith, in pursuit of your faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord of everlasting to everlasting. There your purpose is sure.

 “…let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12: 1-2).

- Abigail Forton ‘22

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash